Attractions and History


Hardknott Roman Fort Eskdale
Matty's Bridge

Hardknott pass is not for the faint hearted or for the owners of clapped out cars but a visit to Harknott Roman Fort half way up Hardknott is a must with it's stunning views over the lovely valley of Eskdale. Archaeologists found evidence that at some point a soldier based there was Dalmatian (Croatian) he/they must have absolutely froze in Winter.

At Gosforth Church at the entry to Eskdale is the Gosforth Fishing Cross, four metres tall and depicting Christian and Norse scenes dating from about 885 A.D, can you find the troublesome Scandinavian God named Loki? Also nearby at Boot is a mill and a walk up the hill passed old peat diggers cottages you will find three very small stone circles (Brats Hill) there are another two nearby.

Along the moor road from Ennerdale Bridge to Calder Bridge is another stone circle 'Kinniside' by the side of the road. A few miles further at NY 064103 take a walk for a mile down the footpath you will find Matty's bridge or Monks Bridge, the oldest pack horse bridge in Cumbria built for the monks from Calder Abbey. Apparently in the mid 1800's Matty Benn would ride off to market via the bridge and return inebriated later, thus the bridge was named Matty Benn's bridge and the name stuck.

Near Silloth at Abbeytown is Holmecultram Abbey, pic left.

Further away on the other side of Carlisle is Lannercost Priory and the Hadrian's Wall visitor centre of Birdoswald About an hours drive.

However, heading from Cockermouth towards Penrith (about an hour) you could visit Dacre and have a look in the churchyard at the Dacre Bears , then the telephone box at Bampton where Withnail did his famous rant (clip contains swearing) there is a visitors book inside the phone box. Then continue and visit the enchanting ruins of Shap Abbey and the magnificent henges at Eumont Bridge beside Penrith, Mayburgh henge is incredible, it's reckoned that it would have taken ten thousand people six months to build - five thousand years ago!.

Penrith also has the 'Giants Thumbs' at St Andrew's Church, and a castle to visit. From Penrith you could head back to Silloth via the charming town of Wigton, birthplace of Melvyn Bragg.

Pic Above Egremont Castle